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are parrots affectionate?

Do Parrots Like To Cuddle? (9 Most Affectionate Parrot Species)

(Last Updated On: April 29, 2023)

Parrots can be cuddly pets depending on their species, personality, and upbringing. Wild parrots are affectionate toward each other and show their love in various ways.

Parrots cuddle by rubbing their beaks against you and preening your hair. They don’t snuggle up in your lap like dogs or cats but enjoy nestling against your neck or standing on your shoulder.

Cuddly parrots include conures, African greys, budgies, quaker parrots, cockatoos, and cockatiels.

Not every individual parrot is cuddly, even if the species is affectionate. Some parrots are aloof and refuse to cuddle just because that’s in their character.

Others will warm up to the prospect of cuddling after several months of bonding and trust. If you want to make a parrot more cuddly, meet its essential care needs and spend time together.

Are Parrots Affectionate?

Parrots are social animals that form strong bonds with each other. So, it’s no surprise these intelligent birds are affectionate and loving. Wild parrots may mate for life and show affection through:

  • Protection.
  • Foraging.
  • Preening.
  • Playing together.
  • Feeding (regurgitation).
  • Socializing with their mate more than other birds.

Parrots are also affectionate with other members of their flock. Even if the parrot isn’t interacting with its favorite, it’ll still groom, forage, and play with other flock mates.

Even if they bicker occasionally, parrots usually make up with each other. Parrots can befriend almost anyone if treated well and aren’t crowded or stressed.

Do All Parrots Cuddle?

Not all parrots are instant cuddle bugs, but they form strong bonds with their human companions and show affection. However, they’re more likely to show other physical gestures of love.

The individual personality of the parrot and its temperament determine whether it’ll be cuddly. Some parrots dislike physical affection.

Instead of cuddling, they’ll seek your attention by calling, singing, and flying over to sit on your shoulder. You’ll still be their favorite person even if they don’t snuggle up and start preening.

High-energy parrots, like budgies, are more likely to be affectionate. By nature, they’re more willing to snuggle, rub their beaks on you, and need more attention.

most cuddly parrots

How Do Parrots Show Affection To Humans?

Birds are among the most common animal companions in the United States due to their affectionate nature, talking ability, and long lifespans.

After all, you’ll have a friend with you for many years or decades. You can also form stronger emotional bonds with pets that can mimic speech and learn complex tricks.

According to Anthrozoös, pet birds often fulfill the social needs of their human owners through affection, vocalization, and interaction. Of course, parrots also show their warmth in unique ways.

These gestures don’t always mirror the ways humans use to show fondness. For this reason, owners may overlook subtle gestures of love from a parrot, including:

  • Rubbing its beak on you.
  • Nipping gently at your skin.
  • Singing or making noises at you.
  • Seeking out your company.
  • Regurgitating food on you.

Unfortunately, regurgitation can signify that a parrot sees you as its mate.


The parrot may get close to your neck and rub its beak against you; it’ll even ‘kiss’ by pecking your skin without pressure. Parrots reserve a grooming habit for those for whom they have great fondness.

Parrots will usually nuzzle against your face, which they identify due to the placement of your eyes and mouth. It’ll be the same as when parrots nuzzle or groom each other’s faces.

Given that the face is such a delicate area, especially for birds, this is a significant sign of trust and affection. The parrot knows it won’t be harmed by entering this vulnerable space.

Calling And Noises

Parrots develop special contact calls for their flock, ranging from squawks to screams, to ensure their friends and companions are close and safe. The longer you ignore the parrot, the louder it’ll call.

Cooing, singing, or purring indicates how much the parrot cares about you. Parrots are naturally vocal pets; the more noise is directed toward you, the more they care about your well-being.

Nips And Movements

Parrots that want to show affection move their mouths often, which may look like this:

Gentle nips (not bites) are given to parrots’ favorite people. If the parrot considers you a trusted friend, it’ll seek your attention with a small peck.


Regurgitation is a sign of fondness, so wild parrots feed their young, mates, and closest friends this way. As a human, having food regurgitated on you is less desirable but implies a close bond.


Trusting actions, such as preening, are reserved for a parrot’s favorite companion. Mates who trust each other will exchange grooming rituals and take turns napping.

Most Cuddly Parrots

Parrots are affectionate to humans once they’re closely bonded. However, some parrots are more likely to show their feelings than others. Cuddling takes a unique form, usually involving:

  • Nuzzling against the neck.
  • Hiding in your shirt.
  • Playing with your hair.
  • Bumping you with its beak.

If you want a parrot that can show its affection in the above ways, these huggable parrots are the most likely to hop onto your shoulder, rest against your neck, and keep you company:

1/ Conures

Friendly and cuddly, conures have big personalities that can make them loud. Conures are better suited to experienced owners who can give them time and attention.

They have many favorite ways to show affection toward one another and their owners. Conures love to preen human hair and beards and aren’t shy about gentle nipping.

Making noise is another favorite of the conure. Over their 20-30 year lifespan, conures make various sounds to express their emotions, including:

  • Contact calling.
  • Singing and chirping.
  • Cooing at their owner.

If they feel close enough to you, they might regurgitate food as a way of sharing.

parrots that like to cuddle

2/ Parrotlets

Native to Peru and Ecuador, parrotlets are among the smallest parrot species. They’re the perfect companion for those who live in apartments or with close neighbors, as they’re quiet by nature.

These little parrots come in various colors and can learn to speak. With a 15-20 year lifespan, this pocket parrot has time to form a strong bond with you. This species shows affection by:

  • Nuzzling.
  • Making noises.
  • Playing.

The parrot will need 2-3 hours of out-of-cage play and exercise daily.

3/ Cockatiels

A cockatiel is a medium-sized parrot native to Australia with outgoing personalities and distinct colors. Cockatiels love to socialize and show off their personality through:

  • Head bobbing.
  • Hanging upside down.
  • Wagging their tails.

Cockatiels are very expressive, showing their affection through various movements and songs. Once they bond with their owners, they’ll constantly seek your attention.

A unique aspect of the cockatiel is the crest atop its head, which indicates its current mood. A pressed-down crest means it’s on guard or hostile; when it’s standing upright, it feels suspicious.

Cockatiels get nervous in unfamiliar environments (all parrots are neophobic) but come out of their shells once they’ve had time to adapt. Their favorite habit is to mimic sounds from their environment.

Their diminutive size means getting bitten by a cockatiel isn’t too painful.

4/ Quaker Parrots

Also known as monk parrots, Quakers originate from South America.

Intelligent and social Quakers are active birds that bond closely with their owners. They adore cuddles and scratches but hate being left alone for too long.

Quaker parrots live in large flocks, with one large nest divided into smaller sections. When they’re domesticated, Quaker parrots share this bond with their human family.

They become noisy and disruptive when upset, going so far as plucking out their feathers. Territorial and fearless, Quaker parrots adapt well to family life but enjoy being the only pet.

Some U.S. states have certain rules or prohibit the ownership of Quaker parrots.

5/ African Grey Parrots

African grey parrots are highly social. As the most intelligent of all domesticated parrots, they readily mimic sounds and talk. They also develop deep bonds with their owners.

However, they need puzzles, play sessions, and your undivided attention to stay happy.

African greys can reach 60-80 years of age, making them a life-long commitment. They’ll show their love and affection by spending time with their owners.

They’ll preen, coo, and mimic their owners as a sign of trust. Since they like spending time with one person, African greys enjoy being perched on your shoulder.

6/ Budgerigars

Budgies (American parakeets) are a popular pet species worldwide. With proper care, they’ll be well-tamed and affectionate. Once they’ve formed a bond with you, they’ll:

  • Whistle.
  • Talk.
  • Sing.
  • Purr.

They’re naturally outgoing, but this energy will be intensified around their favorite person. This is shown in their willingness to cuddle, so they may scale your arm and tuck themselves against your neck.

Once there, budgies pick at earrings and tug at hair. This preening behavior allows them to groom, which shows trust and love. Budgies are social and live in flocks of up to 100 birds.

Budgies are playful and mischievous birds, so they take food and toys to irritate each other. Most people find English budgies more relaxed than American budgies.

7/ Cockatoos

Funny, playful, and friendly, cockatoos are a wonderful addition to any home environment. These outgoing birds need daily attention. Prepare to have a smart, high-maintenance addition to your home.

For them to thrive and receive all the attention they need, you must spend upwards of 2 hours a day with them. Cockatoos must explore outside their cage, play with toys, and interact with you.

A cockatoo’s need for attention makes it very loving. Once bonded, cockatoos are loyal birds. Keeping them at home involves providing a large cage, toys, and other forms of enrichment.

When it’s not eating or sleeping, expect the parrot to sit with you most of the day.

8/ Hyacinth Macaws

These gorgeous blue parrots are the largest of their kind, reaching over 40 inches in length. Considered very friendly macaws, they love spending time with their owners. During this time, they prefer to:

  • Follow you around the house, gliding from place to place.
  • Talk to you.
  • Make contact calls when you’re out of sight.
  • Dance and bob with you.

They’re often considered the Great Dane of the parrot world. While outgoing and social, they can become destructive if left alone for too long.

Hyacinths need wooden toys and branches to assist with training and enrichment.

Even with enrichment, hyacinths must spend ample time outside their cage, which should be paired with strict training routines. Because they’re so intelligent, hyacinths can become good friends with you.

Hyacinths are very loyal, preferring their owner above everyone else. They’ll get excited when they see you, so you may find the parrot dancing, singing, or flapping its wings when you enter the room.

However, Hyacinth macaws are difficult to acquire as pets and have a high price tag. Due to their size and advanced emotional needs, they’re not good pet birds for beginners.

9/ Lovebirds

Lovebirds don’t need a companion in their cage to be happy, as they can bond with their owners if given the right amount of time and affection.

The lovebird will snuggle up to your neck or hair. These small parrots can be curious and playful, so they may remove your jewelry, tug your hair, or peck at your face.

Lovebirds show affection by chattering and whistling, vocalizing as it explores the home with you. With a 10-15 year lifespan, they provide over a decade of companionship.

Lovebirds are devoted and loving, attaching themselves to their owner or another bird. With this comes a tendency to show jealousy toward other pets.

how do parrots show affection to humans?

Why Isn’t My Parrot Affectionate?

Even if you get a cuddly parrot species, it may be disinterested in snuggling. Whether the parrot is affectionate or not will depend on the following factors:

  • Temperament.
  • Socialization.
  • Health.
  • Cage.
  • Diet.
  • Cage mates.
  • Attention.
  • Trusts.

Don’t Spend Enough Time With It

A parrot’s intelligence means it can form loving, complex bonds. However, this also means you can’t trick a parrot into liking you. A pet parrot may not be affectionate if it:

  • Doesn’t see you often.
  • Doesn’t play with you regularly.
  • Hasn’t been well-trained.
  • You don’t or rarely offer it food.

Damaged Trust

Parrots take a breach of trust seriously, so they may become less affectionate if:

  • Startled or hurt the parrot accidentally.
  • Giving another pet more attention.
  • Failed to provide a diverse diet.
  • Provided with a small cage and isn’t let out often.

If a parrot was previously owned by someone who mistreated it, and you resemble that person in some way (similar hair, clothing, fragrances, etc.), this can lead to trust issues.

Not A Favorite Person

If you share care responsibilities, the parrot may choose a favorite person. The parrot will be more willing to cuddle with this person over anyone else. If that person isn’t you, it won’t be as affectionate.

Doesn’t Think You’re A Good Perch

You may be wearing a strong cologne that the parrot dislikes. Also, if you move too quickly while the parrot sits on your shoulder, it may be too alert to relax and cuddle.

Not In The Parrot’s Nature

Regardless of species, it may not be in the parrot’s personality to snuggle up to people.

If this is the case, strengthen your bond with the parrot to see if it warms up to you. If not, share affection with the parrot in other ways, such as through hand feeding, teaching it new words, or playing games.